Megan Walsh fills her boots at the old-but-new Bold Street hero
I’m always curious when a place suddenly rebrands, so when I found out that East Avenue Bakehouse - my once-favourite breakfast spot on Bold Street - had changed its name to The Little Shoe, I paid a visit to find out why.
I’m all about textures and this dish was a raving celebration of all things creamy, crunchy, mushy and crumbly
It’s still the same in many ways – that bike still hangs from the ceiling and they still serve a decent brekkie – but now, as well as a second site in St George’s Hall, there’s a new evening menu served Thursday to Sunday, which of course I had to try.
It’s a decent-sized menu that’s so intrinsically thought-out you could spend hours agonising over what to get in fear of going green-eyed at your mate’s better meal. It’s also designed to satisfy every type of diner, so there’s no need to worry if you’re out to eat with one of those ‘no sharing’ types.
Advised to go traditional, we couldn’t say no to a portion of whitebait (£6) before we began our three-courser. I was a bit sceptical of the beer mayo, but it turned out to be a worthy condiment for the deep-fried fish, and the scene was set for a night of top-notch food.
To be honest, a portion of leeks isn’t what I’d usually order as a starter. I’d had my sights set on the asparagus (because I’m one of those people who scrutinises a menu days before they actually eat out) but it had been removed – and for good reason.
The Little Shoe prides itself on serving the finest food possible to its customers, which means everything you’re eating is at its best; in season and locally sourced. So, if you’re like me, save yourself some time and don’t look at the menu beforehand. Chances are it’s been tweaked according to the availability of ingredients.
Anyway, as I was saying: the braised leeks, white bean puree and green sauce (£5). The sauce was hardly ‘green’ like its description would suggest, but the strong aftertaste of mint was enough clarification for me and a welcomed freshness to the (also welcomed) onion overload.
The crispy pig’s head under a sunshine-yellow yolk (£6) looked a treat. I’d argue the BBQ sauce was a little too sweet but there were no complaints from my dining partner, so I’ll just move on to the mains.
Sadly, the halibut was nothing to write home about. A steal for the price (£17), but the tartare sauce was overpowered by the broccoli and the dish paled in significance for what was about to come and blow my socks off. My main course.
A hot mess of heritage carrots roasted on a bed of carrot-top pesto and creamy goats’ curd, topped with toasted hazelnuts and chunky homemade oatcakes (£12). I’m all about textures and this dish was a raving celebration of all things creamy, crunchy, mushy and crumbly. I’m not telling fibs when I say it could be the best vegetarian dish I’ve ever tasted. Another ten sustainability points for the pesto made from carrot waste, too.
We finished with a dessert to share; Wimbledon-worthy strawberries doused in mint, with a crème fraîche sorbet and a proper shortbread biscuit (£6). We washed it down with one last glass of ice-cold sauvignon (£20) – our wine of choice on this hottest evening on record.
Speaking of climate, last week Liverpool Council declared climate change an emergency. But did you know that around one third of the world’s food goes to waste? Dumped in a landfill where it rots – all three million tonnes of it – and turns into harmful gas that’s killing our planet.
But hats off to you, Little Shoe. You’ve got it spot on.
They say the name Little Shoe comes from that scrap of bread you use to mop up your sauce, but if I didn’t know any better I’d say it has less to do with bread and more to do with the tiny carbon footprint this unsung hero of the city will leave behind.
With such a big focus on slow food, so locally sourced the chef is picking elderflowers from his mate’s dad’s garden, TLS is doing more than its bit to sustain our ecosystem. We just get to reap the benefits.
The Little Shoe, 112 Bold Street, L1 4HY
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.
Whitebait 8, leeks 7, pig’s head 7, halibut 5, carrots 9, strawberries 8
Slow and steady